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Representatives Reis and Bradley recognized with IEC Public Service Award at AIEC Annual Meeting

Illinois State Representatives John Bradley, D-117th District, and David Reis, R-108th District, were presented with the 2011 Illinois Electric Cooperatives Public Service Award at the Association of Illinois Electric Cooperatives annual meeting on July 28 and 29. The award was made in recognition of their dedicated public service to all citizens of the state of Illinois and for their outstanding contributions to the rural electrification program.

Rep. Bradley is an attorney in Marion and has been a leader in the Illinois General Assembly on a wide variety of tough issues ranging from eminent domain to reform of the Illinois worker’s compensation system. As Chairman of the House Revenue Committee, he has resisted strong pressures to increase state spending during the state’s current fiscal challenges. And, he was recently charged by the House Speaker to lead an examination of the Illinois business tax structure, with a view toward improving the state’s business climate.

Rep. Reis is a farmer and Willow Hill resident. He is currently Republican spokesperson of the House Appropriations-Public Safety Committee. He also serves on the Illinois House committees on Judiciary II – Criminal Law, Elections and Campaign Reform, and Elementary and Secondary Education. He is a strong supporter of co-ops and rural Illinois, and in 2011 was chief sponsor of HB 2054, which would create the offense of cooper theft and enhance penalties for that crime. Cooper theft has been a problem for electric cooperatives across the state, creating a safety and reliability issue, as well as expensive repairs.

Scholarship created for lineworker training

Thanks to an incredibly generous contribution from LaVern and Nola McEntire of Macomb, the Illinois Electric Cooperatives’ scholarship program has added a new eighth scholarship for Fall 2011, the “LaVern and Nola McEntire Lineworker’s Scholarship.” This scholarship will be for a student to attend the lineworker’s school conducted by the AIEC in conjunction with Lincoln Land Community College. At this year’s Association of Illinois Electric Cooperatives’ annual meeting LaVern personally presented the scholarship to Mitch Stanciu. Mitch is a graduate of Newton High School, and is the son of Norris Electric Cooperative employee, Annette Stanciu and her husband, Gary.

Co-op research testing LEDs

The National Association of Rural Electric Cooperative’s Cooperative Research Network (CRN) has been working with electric cooperatives to test LEDs in various applications over the past three years, and results are encouraging for the technology. LEDs use roughly 75 percent less energy than traditional incandescent bulbs, with a lifespan up to 50 times longer, according to DOE.

“LED technology is on the right track,” CRN Senior Program Manager Brian Sloboda said. “People tend to prefer the light they emit over other options, although the costs still need to come down to make them truly viable.”

CRN has tested lights in a variety of locations: parking lots with Buckeye Power; a power plant with Hoosier Energy; a university classroom with Southwest Tennessee EMC; community streetlights with Dakota Electric; and a swine farrowing barn and dairy barn with Western Farmers Electric Cooperative.

“The dairy barn application focused more light on feeding troughs, which may have led to a slight increase in milk production,” Sloboda said. “We’re still investigating the data, but we’re pretty excited about the potential.”

World’s largest corn maze in McHenry County

The Midwest is home to a multitude of corn mazes, but the one at Richardson Adventure Farm near Spring Grove, Ill., is definitely different from all the rest. For one thing, Richardson’s corn maze is big, so big it’s known as the “World’s Largest and Most Intricate Corn Maze”. The 28-acre maze has 11 miles of trails, divided into sections so that you can take short strolls or long hikes. The design changes annually, and this year’s theme is “For Freedom: A Salute to Our Military” with images of a soldier, tank, jet, ship, helicopter and flag. The maze is open through Oct. 31.

The Richardson Family has been farming McHenry County since 1840 and created their first corn maze in 2001. Today, the 450-acre farm is operated by the fifth and sixth generations. Each year they add something new to the “agritainment” part of the farm. The farm is located at 9407 Richardson Rd., two miles north of Spring Grove, Ill., in McHenry County. For details go to or phone 815-675-9729.

The shocking truth — 1,000 injured by electrical accidents at work

If you think that paying attention to safety standards at work isn’t important, think again. According to the Health and Safety Executive, a body of the federal government whose job is to make sure that safety regulations at workplaces are met, around 1,000 people a year are injured in electrical accidents at work over the course of a given year.

Of those 1,000, roughly two dozen die as a result of these injuries. But there are steps that can be taken to ensure that such accidents do not occur where you work. Follow these precautions, and you’ll make your office a safer place for everyone:

• Learn to identify electrical wires and cables that run through your workplace.

• Look for signs of wear or damage, and try to replace these cables even if they are not very old.

• Don’t overuse electrical sockets. Rather than trying to plug everything into a single outlet, use power adaptors to minimize the risk of overloading a given electrical socket.

• On a similar note, try to work with the lowest voltage possible. This lowers the risk of serious injuries. If possible, choose a battery-powered equivalent.

• Never carry a tool by its cord. Also, make sure to keep power tools stored in a place that is dry and clean.

• If you’re going to clean something, don’t forget to unplug it first. Never overlook the obvious.

• Don’t put undue force on a cord. Make sure there’s some slack to it. Also, fully uncoil an extension cord before putting it to use.

• Gently unplug things. Never yank them out by the cord nor pull them out from a distance.

Working the farm the old-fashioned way

The Antique Engine & Tractor Association (AETA) is hosting its annual Working Farm Show, Sept. 16-18, near Geneseo, in Illinois’ Henry County. This year, the 300-plus members of the association are celebrating its 50th anniversary show with a large display of John Deere tractors and equipment.

What makes the Working Farm Show different from other farm equipment exhibitions is that much of the machinery on display is actually put to use in the fields. “We harvest corn, soybeans, and cotton, too, with mid 19th century equipment,” says AETA Board President Kevin Bos. “And we thresh wheat and oats, run a saw mill, plow and demonstrate gas engines as they were used from the early to mid-1900s. We’ve even got some horses out plowing fields. We want visitors to feel like they’ve actually stepped back in time.”

Bos adds that the association’s board tries to add more hands-on experiences each year. “Exhibits include blacksmithing, loom weaving and wood turning in the barn. In the women’s vendor tent, you can see demonstrations in spinning, rug weaving, quilting and candle making.”

For more information call 847-404-3148 or visit

© 2016 Illinois Country Living Magazine.
Association of Illinois Electric Cooperatives

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